Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Becoming Californian

I moved out to L.A. at the beginning of 2000--over seven and a half (you know how I am about measuring in increments!) years ago now. When I first came out here, I was sure I would keep a lot of my east coast upbringing and not succumb to the laid-back SoCal way of living. I was wrong. So I thought I'd make a list of how I became "Californian":

1. I never thought I'd be a "yoga" person, but I am religious about taking class 3 times a week. Now when I say I'm "religious" I mean as far as the fact that I'm diligent about attendance. The whole breathing, mind-body, namaste thing is fine, but when I'm in down dog I'm not transcending to some higher spiritual plane. I'm thinking, "When the @#$% are we getting out of this, dammit!"

So much for transcendence.

2. I've become a total gym rat. I've always been disciplined about exercising and staying fit, but now--I kid you not--I arrange my life schedule around my workout schedule. Nope--can't meet you for dinner Friday night. I've got yoga class. How about Saturday?

3. I hate socks. Oh, I'll wear them to the gym but when I'm not working out or walking about I'm barefoot or in thong sandals. I have two pairs of sturdy Doc Marten thongs. I wear them everywhere. I have dozens of other shoes which are collecting dust in my closet. When it gets cold and I have to give in and wear something with closed-in toes, I resent it.

4. Speaking of cold, it's amazing how thin your blood gets and how quickly it happens here. When I came out here in December of 1999 to find a place to live, it was sunny and 78 every day. Back home it was freezing. I mean the REAL kind of freezing! I was in heaven--walking around in shorts and t-shirt. Everyone else was wearing coats and scarfs. WTF? I thought they were nuts. Then after a year of living here, the temp dips below 70 and it's cold! Below 60 and it's FREEZING! Back east, a sunny day in March with temps of 58 will have people pulling on shorts and playing frisbee! Here, we bundle up in hats and muffler and grumble about losing feeling in our toes...

5. Speaking of toes, mine are always painted. I don't paint my fingernails, but I always give the toes a fresh coat of lacquer. Between the thong sandals and yoga class, they're on display A LOT!

6. I love sushi! I never thought I'd say that. Once I become a successful screenwriter, I will have sushi every night and a massage once a week.

7. I can pronounce "Sepulveda" (Suh-PULL-vuh-dah not Seh-pull-VAY-dah).

8. I've experienced several small earthquakes. Most of the time you don't realize what happened until well after it's over.

9. I don't miss snow. I do miss autumn. We get a bit of leaf changing here but it's nothing like the show nature puts on back east!

10. I own Juicy Couture. There's no such thing as "Casual Friday" here--because EVERYDAY is casual Friday! When I wear a skirt to work my boss compliments me for being "so dressed up" (and probably secretly wonders if I'm interviewing for another job--). What most people wear on the weekends, Californians wear on a daily basis.

And a couple ways I'm not so Californian:

1. I'm still not a cellphone person. It's almost easier to get a hold of me via e-mail.

2. I walk almost EVERYWHERE!

3. My car is not a status symbol and even when I'm a successful screenwriter, I won't tooling around town in a fancy foreign sports car.

4. I hate valet parking and would rather spend extra time to find free parking a few blocks away and walk then to spend money on valet parking.

5. I prefer The Cheesecake Factory to Spago. I know it's sooooo bourgeois, but I don't care. I'll take TCF over trendy "cuisine" anyday...

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